By Anthony Clark Jr.
As the nation continues to recover from the health, economic, and social crises sprouting from COVID-19, a threatening nationwide blood shortage is becoming more prevalent in the Grand Rapids area.
Blood drives and similar donation centers were not permitted to operate before the herd immunity marker grew closer in order to stem the chances of spreading the virus. The extensive hiatus for donations has created a major gap between available resources and the number of hospital admission rates.
According to reports by the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) given to WOODTV8, Spectrum Health hospitals’ blood supply is down 40% with a 10% increase in procedures in 2021. Local hospitals are operating on a day-to-day supply of Type O blood (the most universal blood type) as opposed to the desired four to five-day daily supply.
The American Red Cross is facing an emergency need of blood donations due to a minimal supply. They are urging individuals to donate as their minimum need of 1,000 donations per day to fulfill hospital demand isn’t met consistently.
Kent County health officials are urging individuals to donate as they aim to reach 500 donations per-day. If this goal isn’t met, the ability to save lives will grow slimmer. Though the critically low figure hasn’t been reached and procedures are still as scheduled, blood is being used sparingly.
The Red Cross is hosting three Kent County blood drives in the coming weeks:
- Grand Rapids – Aug. 5, American Red Cross West Michigan (11:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)
- Comstock Park – Aug. 10, English Hills Terrace (11:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.)
- Grandville – Aug. 11, Rivertown Crossings Mall (12 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.)
Walk-ins are permissible for Red Cross donations, but scheduled appointments are highly suggested to find a more convenient time to donate as these dates will not be the only blood drives held in the near future.
Grand Rapids Community College will also host two Versiti Blood Center of Michigan drives over the fall semester. The first event is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 16, with the second scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 16. Each blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the second floor (room 234) of the Student Life Center.
The blood shortage is a concern that is rapidly becoming a crisis that could affect you without warning: someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, hospitals can only receive blood from volunteer donors, one donation has the potential to save up to three lives.